What is unhealthy marketing?

I have had a number of opportunities to interact with marketing organizations over the last years. Overall, the health status ranged from very healthy to unhealthy marketing and even terminal. Whether large corporations or young startups, the symptoms that something is broke in the marketing realm are surprisingly similar.

We are far away from the Don Drapers’ world of marketing. Today the role of marketing has ramified across multiple corporate functions. Consequently, this has led to greater expectations and deliverables. As a result, rendering the entire house of marketing construct very complex: heavy in processes and often light in clarity of roles and responsibilities.

The key symptoms range from fundamental strategy, core processes and execution.

Unhealthy Marketing Symptoms

Now run a quick self-diagnosis by asking yourself the questions below.

  1. No Strategy:
    • Is Marketing leading the discussion on defining the space you operate in?
    • Has Marketing profiled the ideal customer and the desired experience?
    • Is Marketing providing relevant market analysis on trends and forecasts?
  2. Lack of Innovation:
    • Is Marketing providing Research & Development relevant customer insights on current and future needs?
    • Has Marketing mapped out the Life Cycle plan for your key brands for organic growth?
    • Has Marketing identified key targets (brands, companies) for inorganic growth?
  3. Sloppy Brand Stewardship:
    • Has Marketing concisely defined the fundamentals of your core Brands?
    • Has consistent messaging been defined and and are they being tracked?
  4. Absent Value Proposition:
    • Do the core brands have clear stated value propositions?
    • Have these been translated into a coherent pricing strategy?
  5. Complex Brand Planning:
    • Does Brand planning focus on customer behaviors while at the same time delivering the business goals?
    • Has Marketing aligned all the stakeholders on the Brand Plans outcomes?
  6. Poor Transfer:
    • Is Marketing engaging Sales teams effectively when launching and transferring campaigns?
    • Is Marketing driving self-accountability on execution?
  7. Unclear Lead Generation:
    • Has Marketing defined a lead generation strategy?
    • Has Marketing clarified the roles and responsibilities with Sales and other stakeholders?
  8. Unstructured Content Management:
    • Has Marketing developed Content Plan supporting the Brand Strategy?
    • Is Marketing leveraging an Influencer and Key Opinion Leader strategy?
  9. No Tracking & Accountability:
    • Is Marketing tracking Key Performance Indicators?
    • Are these aligned with Sales and Management?
    • Is Marketing holding itself routinely accountable with lead indicators?

Finally, a bonus symptom. Normally if all the 9 symptoms above are absent then this last should be as well. However, as you well know, people always make the difference.

  1. Demotivated People:
    • Are the Marketers fully engaged?
    • Are they passionate and curious?
    • Do they invent and experiment?

Hopefully your quick self-diagnosis concludes in a healthy marketing patient.

Remedies to an Unhealthy Marketing

Finally, for the companies that do experience an unhealthy marketing, the good news is that there is a cure. However, avoid the knee jerk reaction of addressing this by expanding complexity. Also, avoid creating new processes or stifling inter-relationships with additional formality.

In fact, the correct remedy is quite the opposite. So, take the opportunity to stripe the processes down to the foundations. Also, make sure that the marketing playbook abides to certain principles. These should align the entire organization to common brand values and customer needs. Some relevant areas to focus on include:

  • Common language: the various functions are so intertwined in the modern world that marketing. Marketing is expected to generate and qualify leads and Sales are now instrumental in delivering content. As a result, Marketing can no longer afford to isolate the profession with “marketingnese”. Forget the marketing critical success factors and start focusing on the common sales goals.
  • Simplicity: gone are the days that you could afford to take 6 months to complete a marketing plan. There is just no more time. Hence, processes need to be nimble enough to adapt to changes overnight. In addition, they also need to be clear and simple to engage various audiences. Stop running workshops where the sales teams moan about another marketing SWOT exercise.
  • Alignment: forget the sales and marketing alignment. In reality, this just assumes that one or the other needs to align behind the other. Like Simon Kelly points out in Value-Ology, the successful companies are the ones where Sales and Marketing work together and are aligned in front of the customer. Especially relevant best practices include having common goals, key indicators and scorecards.

Santa Marketing focuses on the simplification of best in class marketing approaches. Such a marketing transformation fuels a vision of growth. Check out www.santa-marketing.com for more information or contact christian@santa-marketing.com.

The 9 symptoms of an unhealthy marketing

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